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Mycoplasma genitalium
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Division: Firmicutes
Class: Mollicutes
Order: Mycoplasmatales
Family: Mycoplasmataceae
Genus: Mycoplasma
Species: M. genitalium
Binomial name
Mycoplasma genitalium
Tully et al., 1983

Mycoplasma genitalium is a small parasitic bacterium which lives on the ciliated epithelial cells of the primate genital and respiratory tracts. M. genitalium is the smallest known free-living bacterium, and the second-smallest bacterium after the recently-discovered endosymbiont Carsonella ruddii. Until the discovery of Nanoarchaeum in 2002, M. genitalium was also considered to be the organism with the smallest genome.[1]



Mycoplasma genitalium was originally isolated in 1980 from urethral specimens of two male patients with non-gonococcal urethritis. Infection by M. genitalium seems fairly common, can be transmitted between partners during unprotected sexual intercourse, and can be treated with antibiotics; however, the organism's role in genital diseases is still unclear.

The genome of M. genitalium consists of 521 genes (482 protein encoding genes) in one circular chromosome of 582,970 base pairs. An initial study of the M. genitalium genome with random sequencing was performed by Peterson in 1993. It was then sequenced by Fraser and others. It was found to contain only 470 predicted coding regions, including genes required for DNA replication, transcription and translation, DNA repair, cellular transport, and energy metabolism.[2] It was the second complete bacterial genome ever sequenced, after Haemophilus influenzae. The small genome of M. genitalium made it the organism of choice in The Minimal Genome Project, a study to find the smallest set of genetic material necessary to sustain life.

Synthetic life

In October 2007, a team of scientists headed by DNA researcher Craig Venter and Nobel laureate Hamilton Smith announced that they plan to create the first artificial life form in history by creating a synthetic chromosome which they plan to inject into the M. genitalium bacterium, potentially resulting in an artificial species dubbed Mycoplasma laboratorium or Mycoplasma JCVI-1.0 after the research centre in which it was created, the J. Craig Venter Institute in the United States.[3][4]

On 24 January 2008, the same team reported to have synthesized the complete 582,970 base pair genome of M. genitalium (a key gene that enables the wild organism to cause disease was knocked out). The final stage of synthesis was completed inside a yeast cell.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Aside from viruses—however, it is not agreed upon whether or not viruses constitute life.
  2. ^ Fraser, Claire M.; et al. (1995). "The Minimal Gene Complement of Mycoplasma genitalium". Science 270 (5235): 397–404. doi:10.1126/science.270.5235.397.  
  3. ^ Pilkington, Ed (2007-10-06). "I am creating artificial life, declares US gene pioneer". The Guardian.  
  4. ^ Briggs, Helen (2008-01-24). "Synthetic life 'advance' reported". BBC News.  
  5. ^ Ball, Philip (2008-01-24). "Genome stitched together by hand". Nature News. doi:10.1038/news.2008.522.  

External links



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Superregnum: Bacteria
Regnum: Bacteria
Phylum: Firmicutes
Classis: Mollicutes
Ordo: Mycoplasmatales
Familia: Mycoplasmataceae
Genus: Mycoplasma
Species: Mycoplasma genitalium
Strain: Mycoplasma genitalium G37 - Mycoplasma genitalium M6320 - Mycoplasma genitalium M6282 - Mycoplasma genitalium M2288 - Mycoplasma genitalium M2321 -



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